Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Red Maple flower buds

As long as I can remember I've had an occasional problem w/ my eyes.  I'd wake up w/ pain in one or the other.  Didn't happen often, about once every three months or so.  The pain lasts only around an hour but I have blurry vision out of that eye for the rest of the day.  When I came back here to live the number of episodes abated and I rarely have them now.  However, I woke up w/ the pain in the left one on Monday and then today w/ pain in the right.  Over the years I've learned to tolerate the pain and I know the eye will be sensitive to cold and light so I didn't go outside or turn on lights for awhile.  The blurriness though can cause issues so I try not to read too much.  Had library duty tonight.  That meant shutting one eye when I read off the computer screen.  Have a slight headache now but by tomorrow morning expect that both the headache and blurriness will be gone.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Hooded Mergansers

As you can see Gorgeous Gorge hasn't got any ice on it.  It's in a ravine w/ high banks on three sides - fortunately the fourth side opens to the south.  Just down the valley Mistake Lake is still ice covered.  It's out in a flat fen circled by trees and doesn't get sun.  Just a little further on is Turtlehead Pond - it's ice free too. Turtlehead used to keep it's ice because of the high ridge surrounding it.  However the gravel pit has extended around the lake and the sun can now get in.  These Mergansers were on Gorgeous Gorge today.  Can the bluebirds, tree swallows, and wood ducks be far behind?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Duck Dance

 The forecast is for above freezing temps all week.  The speed of Spring arriving is picking up.  Heard a meadowlark this morning.  The buds on the red maples are filling out.  Biggest surprise was Indy and I came upon ducks on Gorgeous Gorge.  They circled around a few times waiting for us to pass.
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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Elk

I've heard that the more intelligent the dog, the more they need variation in their daily walks so Indy should have been very satisfied with our trek along deer paths through marshes today. I enjoy them too but end up picking out snapped off twigs and bits of dried leaves from all sorts of places when I undress later.  On the way home, meant to take a short cut up through the woods but I noticed something strange near my fenceline by the road and, like anyone would, went to investigate.  My neighbor who has erected a stamped metal moose on his land has now added this elk.  It's interesting though not something I'd necessarily install.  Fortunately for him the HOA's (Home Owners Association) around here are made up of one person apiece (two if they are married).

Saturday, March 25, 2017

1963 Homemakers group

Working on what seems to be an on-going project of figuring out old photos.  Found this one of the Homemakers group.  Pretty happy to see that it was marked w/ a date of "1963" on the front.  At times I've resorted to trying to figure out from cars or clothes when pictures were taken.  I recognized Mom and my best friend's mother but no one else.   Begged a cup of coffee yesterday from my neighbors and they could name their family members and quite a few more in the picture.  They are having a family reunion this year so now that I have it scanned in, I'll give it to them for their picture display.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Paper Birch in spring

As I said, the GNO (Girls Night Out) group had our Christmas party last weekend.  Part of that process is to pick a new theme for the gifts we give each other next Christmas.  This can be a drawn out process though we can't leave for home w/o coming to an agreement.  The subject of "Homophones" was leading for awhile (example "new" and "knew") w/ "Homographs" a close second (example "bow" the knot and "bow" the weapon).  However we were playing Timeline and there was a suggestion to pick a card from the deck and make that our theme.  More debate about rules on how to pick a card.  We finally came up w/ each of us picking three cards, placing them all together in a hat, and then each picking out one card which would be our gift theme,  Another hat draw for the name of the person we give that gift to and we were done.  So ... the present I give next Christmas has to be reminiscent of the 1812 Discovery of the Ancient City of Petra.  I like it.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Horned Lark

Not the best image but I was excited to see these little larks were back.  I took a few pictures and in one her head is turned away from me and you can see the little "horns" on either side of her head.  I don't see these birds the rest of the year.  My place might just be a stopping off place on their way much further north.  The first spring I saw one was a few years ago when it landed on the top of a tall snowbank by the side of the driveway.  At least this year this one was greeted w/ a landscape of short grasses and the scattered bushes that it prefers.  Oops, spoke too soon, snow cover again this morning.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Geranium

Indy and I were on the right-of-way walking along the old railroad R/W from my neighbors property to mine.  The whole swamp was frozen.  Well, cold enough to maintain a frozen cover to the water but warm enough to allow it to flow under the ice.  On my land the path gently rises and a tiny stream of water from a spring flows along it's side.  It too was entirely frozen w/ little ice waterfalls and steps.  However, I came to a spot where the ice stopped and there was open slowly flowing water.  Just as wooded overhead - sunlight wasn't warming the water.  Must be I was near the head of the spring.  The water was still "warm" from being underground and took a certain distance to cool down enough to turn to ice. Checked other nearby swampy areas - all still covered w/ ice.   Interesting proof  of the exact spot where the spring starts.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Welcome Vernal Equinox

Celebrated by going on a few walks w/ Indy.  The air this morning on our first walk, before sunrise, was moist and cool - like after a rain. I was almost correct - it started raining as soon as we walked back in the door.  Our second walk was through a series of small swamps that I can't get through other times of the year because they are too wet and too overgrown then.  Our third walk was just a jaunt around Gorgeous Gorge and our fourth down the driveway to drop off recyclables.  The sun has set now - excellent time for that last walk of the day.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Flock of Turkey

Met up w/ friends to have our Christmas party.  This was the earliest we could all get together - squeaking it in two days before the Vernal Equinox.  We opened our gifts last night.  The gift I gave had to incorporate the movie "An American in Paris" so I gave a tote bag w/ the French motto emblazoned on it and inside, wrapped in colorful tissue paper, were some French herbs and some local American foods like maple syrup, wild grape jelly, and honey.  The gift I received had to be about the movie "The Bells of St. Marys." The package had a antique cowbell, a jigsaw puzzle in the shape of bells w/ holly, and a package of gum (think the priest asked someone for gum in the movie).  Perfect gift!  We haven't yet decided on this year's Christmas gift theme - stay tuned.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bird Snow Angel

Went on a long walk w/ Indy this afternoon. It's cold and protected enough in the swamp to still have snow.  That's where we found this wing imprint.  I don't know enough about birds to tell you which kind made it but for basically one "track" it tells a whole story.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Picking up hay bales

The field next to me was hayed late last year and the bales left in the open.  Everything soon froze so the bales would over winter outside just fine.  This is a picture of my neighbor picking up those bales this year.  By picking them up from the field and taking them directly to feed his beef cattle, he'll save the extra work required to store them in a shed.  The most remarkable thing about this picture isn't that he was so easily able to get into the fields in March - it's that I took this pic a month ago.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pussywillows

Pussywillows are harbingers that spring is on it's way even though we have a fresh coating of snow and cold temps.  The buds won't really pop out until there is actually warm temps and sunshine but it's nice to see them even this far along.  Plus in celebration of the 3.14 date, I baked a pie.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Freeze, Thaw, Refreeze

6:30 the phone rang.  I rolled over and answered.  My new garbage pickup company wanted to know my exact address.  I forgave their early call.  I should have been up by now anyway (though it does still feel like 5:30).  I don't generate a lot of garbage.  When I first came here, once every 3 months I'd load up the car and unload it myself at the Waste Management dump site in the next town.  I decided to have a family reunion here a few years ago which probably meant a lot of refuse so I contacted WM and asked for pickup at my house.  I was going to stop it after 3 months but then got used to having weekly pickup.  This winter didn't go well though - WM missed some pickups because the truck crew didn't think my receptacles were close enough to the road (though I left them in the same spot I had since starting service).  Once emptied, the crew left the bins in the roadway.  I'd find them tipped over by the wind or in the ditch.  Then WM warned me that I'd better sign a year-long contract w/ them or my prices would go up (I didn't and they did).  WM literature is filled w/ admonishments to recycle - which is a law in my state - but they won't offer that service.  I contacted WM  to cancel service.  It took a bit to convince the customer contact people that I really did want to cancel and then I was transferred to a service rep who said if it was cost that I was concerned about they would reduce my rate.  I let them know it was too little too late.   My neighbors said they were happy w/ their garbage pickup company and that company picked up recycling. I contracted w/ them last week.  Maybe a 6:30 wake-up call is all part of my new service. (ha)